Thrusday at the Bell centre, Chapter Four of the series between the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins was presented. Down 1-2 in the series, the Canadiens fought for their playoff life with desperation, knowing that a loss would virtually mean the end.
The Canadiens opened the score early into the first period when goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury misplayed a routine sharp angle shot, an unexpected gift for Tom Pyatt who registered his first career playoff goal.
But the celebrations were short.
Maxime Talbot tied the score only 53 seconds later. Talbot skated alone towards goaltender Jaroslav Halak and scored with a nifty backhand between Halak's pads after P.K. Subban missed the puck at the offensive blue line and was blatantly tripped when he attempted to skate back towards his territory.
Only moments later, Chris Kunitz gave a one-goal lead to the Penguins during a man advantage with a pinball style goal. The puck was deflected twice before finding its way in the net behind Halak.
After two periods, the Canadiens was dominated in the shots department and had to rely on Halak's brillant play during the second period.
In a brillant third period effort, the Canadiens came back from that one goal deficit to finally edge the defending champions. Maxim Lapierre tied the score at two when he scored on a wrap around then only a minute and a half later, Brian Gionta's pass attempt deflected on a defender and slid in Fleury's net.
Final score: Montreal Canadiens 3 - Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (The series is tied 2-2.)
My final word on this memorable game goes to the referees and their one-sided work. Dave Jackson and Eric Furlatt really worked in favor of the champions in this one. The Canadiens received their share of ''BS'' especially when came the time to deliver penalties to the Penguins.
More particulary, on P.K. Subban on the play that led to Pittsburgh's first goal in the first period and on Brian Gionta during the third period who was wrapped in the defender's arms and pinned into the boards while pursuing the puck deep into the Penguins territory. Both referees were heavily booed by the crowd during a major part of the game.
I will not miss my chance to talk to referee Eric Furlatt about this game next Monday as I have the opportunity to talk to him every Monday morning. Furlatt happens to live in Trois-Rivieres, just like yours truly.
(Picture: Canadian Press.)